Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My first gun.

Most shooters have an affinity for their first gun.  It may be the first gun they had ever shot or the first gun they owned, but most people I've met speak fondly of that first gun, no matter what it is or was.  A friend of mine has has been diligently searching gun shows, dealers, and online sources for his first gun, or at least one just like it, for several years.  Fortunately, my first gun is still with me and has its own special place in the gun safe among it's many siblings.

The first gun I ever remember shooting was Pappy's (my grandfather was always known as Pappy) Winchester 61.  The 61 was a terrific little pump-action .22 with an octagon barrel that showed some wear, but with a cheap box of .22s, it would keep us kids entertained all afternoon behind the barn or in the woods.  There are pictures of me at around age five shooting that gun, but as fate would intervene, it ended up being passed on to my uncle, then to a cousin.

The first gun that was actually my very own is the Marlin Model 60 pictured above.  A gift to me from Pappy when I was nine, it is still one of my favorite guns.  My Marlin 60 is nothing special to anyone else, just a semi-automatic .22 with a 22" barrel and a tube magazine that would hold 18 rounds (better known as a New Jersey assault rifle these days).  It came with a plain wood stock, metal blade sites, and an instruction manual in a cardboard box with "Marlin" printed on the outside and a Kmart price sticker of $59.97.

Endurance and reliability testing seems to be all the rage these days in gun reviews, but I can attest that few guns have been tested like this Marlin 60.  Oh, it had misfires, and jams, and failures to extract which were all probably more a combination of cheap ammo and the hundreds of rounds fired between cleanings, but this gun probably has somewhere north of 50,000 rounds through it over the years and it still holds a nice, tight group of ten shots at fifty yards off a bench rest you could cover with nickel.  Must be that Marlin Micro-Groove rifling.  Whenever some money came my way from a birthday, baling hay, or mowing yards; I'd pick up a few boxes, and sometimes a couple of "bricks" of .22s, and shoot... and shoot... and shoot.

Long before zombies became such a problem, I helped save America by eliminating extreme radicals in rural areas and farm country such as crows, groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, and various targets-of-opportunity like tin cans, bottles, and even a few ABBA and Styx albums.  I also became a pretty good shot facing away from my target and firing it over my shoulder using a mirror like trick shooters did in the old days.

The reason this rifle was on my mind is because of the new scope mounts I recently installed.  After purchasing and mounting a Weaver K4 4x scope back in high school, I've tried several sets of mounts on the dove-tail or "tip-off" scope rail - all of which have seemed to slip or move over time no matter how much you tightened them down.  I recently ran across some B-Square dove-tail to Weaver-style adapters at MidwayUSA that seemed purpose-built to eliminate my perpetual scope shifting problem.  After installing them along with an inexpensive set of Weaver one-inch scope rings, I went out back to the range, sighted in the scope at 50 yards and then proceeded to dispose of 400-500 rounds of Federal .22 bulk-pak ammo.  The scope never moved or shifted and held zero the entire time.

Tin cans and zombies beware, I'm sighted-in, loaded, and ready.


  1. I could have written this post.

    The first guns I shot were a Winchester target rifle that belonged to my father and a Winchester pump with an octagonal barrel that belonged to my grandfather.

    The first gun I owned was a Model 60 that my Dad gave me for Christmas when I was 13. He bought it at K-Mart for $60. I still have that Model 60 with a cheap Tasco scope I bought for it with lawn cutting money before I could drive. I remember bumming a ride to go buy it.

  2. My first gun was a Marlin/Glenfield Model 75C. The smaller,shorter brother of the Model 60. I'm still looking for the right version of Model 75C. There must have been two versions, because my version had a magazine tube that extended almost to the end of the barrel and held 15 rds. All the models I find have a tubular magazine that protrudes about an inch past the wood stock. I've tried to research the differences in the 2 versions but haven't been to successful. I had to sell it when my first child was born for diapers and formula. That's life.